News You Should Read Today – December 30 – 2015

Pataki drops presidential bidPataki drops presidential bid

George Pataki ended his presidential campaign on Tuesday, dropping a bid to capture the Republican nomination that never caught traction with a voter base clamoring for more conservative and anti-establishment candidates.

The former New York governor hoped his experience as a three-term chief executive who led the Empire State during the September 11 terrorist attacks would resonate with the Republican Party. But he never broke single digits in polling or qualified for prime-time debates.

Pataki’s departure from the race leaves 11 candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president. CNN



After Ramadi Iraq sets sights on MosulAfter Ramadi Iraq sets sights on Mosul

After retaking most of the key city of Ramadi from ISIS militants, Iraqi leaders say they are setting their sights on an even bigger prize: Mosul.

Iraqi forces have driven ISIS jihadists out of the heart of Ramadi, which the Sunni extremist group seized in May in a humiliating setback for the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition that’s backing it.

Significant pockets of ISIS resistance remain in Ramadi, still controlling as much as 25% of it as of Tuesday, local tribal leaders said. But that didn’t stop Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi from visiting the shattered city and raising the national flag.

Next year “will be the year we drive ISIS out of Iraq,” he declared. CNN



USS Harry S. TrumanIranian test rockets fly near US aircraft carrier

U.S. military officials say Iran test fired missiles Saturday that passed within 1,500 meters of an American aircraft carrier passing through international shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz.

In addition to the USS Harry S. Truman, there were several other vessels in the area, including the destroyer USS Buckley, a French frigate and merchant ships.

The officials, who spoke to Western media under condition of anonymity, called the Iran’s actions “highly provocative.” They said Iran’s navy gave a radio announcement less than an hour before firing the missiles telling ships to steer clear of the area.

None of the missiles were fired at any of the ships, which did not need to take any evasive actions. VOA



Top Aide to N. Korean Leader Killed in Car CrashTop aide to N. Korean leader killed in car crash

North Korean state media say a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has died in a car crash.

The KCNA news agency said 73-year-old Kim Yang Gon, the head of Pyongyang’s United Front Department — the unit that manages North Korea’s ties with South Korea — died early Tuesday.

A career party diplomat, Kim led a high-level delegation that held emergency talks in August with South Korean envoys after troops from the rival governments traded artillery fire as part of a dispute over South Korean propaganda broadcasts into the North. Negotiators reached a deal days later under which the South agreed to stop the broadcasts and the North apologized for a string of border provocations. Kim also played a leading role in a 2007 summit between former leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, who died in 2009.

A state funeral is being planned for Kim, who was described by the state-run KCNA news agency as Kim Jong Un’s “closest comrade and a solid revolutionary partner.”

The lack of detail surrounding the car accident Tuesday has fed speculation that Kim’s death was suspicious and even intentional. But, Korea analyst Sung-Yoon Lee of Tufts University told VOA, he tends to believe the official version that this was an accident. VOA

Bezos the CEO of Amazon.com8 CEOs just scored $60B this year

Stop complaining about how lousy the stock market was this year. It was great – to the tune of $60 billion – for titans in the right industries.

Eight CEOs of companies in the Russell 1000 index, including Jeff Bezos of online retailer (AMZN), Mark Zuckerberg of social media giant Facebook (FB) and Larry Page of online advertising firm Alphabet (GOOGL), generated a massive $60 billion score this year from their stock holdings, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ. Each of these CEOs made $500 million or much more – individually – from their holdings this year.

It’s been a ho-hum year for most investors – as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has inched up just 1%. Even famed investor Warren Buffett of has suffered a mighty multi-billion dollar loss on his holdings on Berkshire Hathaway.

The biggest winner – by far – was Bezos. The CEO of, a retailer using technology to upend the entire industry, scored a massive $32 billion haul this year. Another huge winner is a CEO who is almost half’s Bezos’ age: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Zuckerberg, 31, scored $12.5 billion in wealth this year. USA Today


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